Today's Lectionary Text
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
It’s Jan. 10 and I wonder how many of those bright shiny resolutions we had on the first have already fallen by the wayside? Resolutions for exercise and health, financial goals and decluttering, and other promises of a better you we have made and so quickly abandoned. We’ll try again next year, right?
In light of today’s scripture, I can’t help but to think of poor Mary and all she’s been through up to this point. An angel has appeared to disrupt her life. She’s carrying a baby that’s the son of God. Nobody likely believes her even her fiancé at the beginning. Then as her time of delivery comes near, she has to travel and give birth away from home. To add insult to injury she can’t go back home where she likely had everything laid out in preparation for Jesus. She has to go on the run to Egypt not knowing when she will see home again.
So, what do our tendencies to abandon resolutions and the holy family’s flight have in common?
Life is unpredictable. They say God laughs as we make plans. Resolutions are made based on our timing, not God’s. Is it good to set goals? Yes, absolutely. Should we have some grace with ourselves when it comes to achieving them? Yes, absolutely.
Just as Mary, Joseph and Jesus eventually return to Nazareth when safety could be assured, January 2020 goals easily transition to later 2020 goals or even to 2021 goals when the time and circumstances are right.
If you have already fallen off your resolution wagon the good news is, you have all of the rest of this year to get back on it. Just remember to be kind to yourself along the way and give yourself some grace.
Communications administrative assistant
Prayer for Reflection
Heavenly Father, help us to have grace for each other and ourselves. Help us to remember that when life doesn’t go according to our plan that your plan is so much bigger and better for us.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color